The official currency in Panama is the US dollar, though it is also called the Balboa. Don’t be confused this is actually the US Dollar, with the exception of coins Pamana doesn’t have it’s own money.
Most nicer restaurants and stores, as well as Casco Antiguo Spanish School, accept major credit cards (Visa / MasterCard) though smaller mom and pop restaurants, and convenience stores (called “chinos”) only accept cash.
Tip: We recommend you don’t carry bills greater than $20 as most stores will not accept $50 or $100 bills without asking for ID and calling their manager over to have you fill out a special form. Fancier restaurants and hotels will accept them but you might find them harder to use around town for smaller purchases.
Useful Spanish Terms for Money in Panama
Un palo = 1 dollar (a buck)
“Un martinelli” = 1 dollar coin
“Un peso” = 50 cent coin
Una cuara = 25 cent coin
Un dime = 10 cent coin
Un real = 5 cent coin
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